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SR-166 repairs drawn up

Washington State Department of Transportation officials were scrambling this week to pave the way for a “quick fix” of the remaining unstable ground looming over a closed portion of State-Route 166 near Gorst, according to Port Orchard Maintenance Supervisor Joyce Komac.

“We’re working on a smaller fix, to remove (more of the dirt) and then (stabilize it) with a little bit of rock,” Komac said on Thursday, explaining that engineers have drawn up blueprints for the work, but they need to be approved before work can start.

“Right now, we’re trying to complete the paperwork and get it signed,” she said.

Once that happens and a contractor is hired, Komac said crews will be removing all the dirt that did not come down in last weekend’s mudslide, which includes about 200 yards of mud perched precariously above the recently-bared section.

“They’re going to be scraping off the hillside,” Komac said, explaining that that while there’s little more than mud that can fall now from the latest slide section, which was at milepost .48, there are other unstable areas up above to worry about. “There are some cracks up above that are a big concern, (because) they are looking like they might possibly fall.”

Altogether, the work “should only take them a couple of days,” she said, adding that she was still uncertain when it might begin, however.

Komac said she was hopeful that the work could begin by this weekend, but several factors, including Mother Nature, could still push the repairs into next week.

Once the “smaller” fix is completed, Komac said officials will begin to plan more extensive repairs for the area.

A 2.5-mile section of SR166 has been closed for a week following a mudslide that dumped tons of mud and at least one tree onto the road early Saturday, Jan. 7.

The incident was reported shortly before 1 a.m., when at least one motorist struck the debris, and Washington State Patrol troopers and WSDOT crews closed the road at that time.

Until further notice, the roadway is closed and a detour is in place. Traffic is being diverted up Port Orchard Boulevard to Tremont Street, which then connects drivers to State Route 16.

During a five-week-long closure of the same stretch between July and August of 2004, approximately 180,000 cubic yards of material was removed from Ross Point in $3.2 million fix.

Two small slides occurred in the section after the repairs, one a couple months later in October, and one the following January.

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